Friday, February 05, 2016

Mangum rushes from DC to Florida capitol after news story about “snubbing lawmakers”

FAMU President Elmira Mangum has struggled with media relations since 2015. She has also had trouble working with Gov. Rick Scott throughout her entire presidency. Now, she might have burned bridges with a number of GOP lawmakers.

This week, there was a news report that suggested Mangum offended some of the Florida legislators who will soon decide the university’s 2016-2017 budget appropriations.

On Monday, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that Mangum had chosen to skip FAMU Day at the Capitol scheduled for Thursday, February 4 in order to participate in a set of events in Washington, DC. One was the White House National Prayer Breakfast, which U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, had invited her to attend as his guest.

FAMU National Alumni Association President Gregory L. Clark addressed the issue in a post on his Facebook page that was widely circled among FAMUans.

“The date of FAMU Day at the Capitol is set by the university,” Clark wrote.

Clark went on provide more details by stating: “The NAA was notified in December that Dr. Mangum had a conflict and asked if the date could be changed. The NAA Executive Board decided not to change the date because the resources had already been committed (we pay all expenses surrounding this day). Alumni had already secured buses and accommodations to be in Tallahassee during this time and it was impossible and unrealistic to change everything 45 days out.”

On Tuesday, February 2, Capitol News Service reporter Mike Vasilinda filed a story on what he had been told about the responses to Mangum’s decision to miss the Tallahassee event.

“Many close to higher education say Mangum is snubbing lawmakers at a time when she’s barely recovered from efforts to fire her,” Vasilinda reported. “None would go on the record, but supporter [state Sen.] Arthenia Joyner says the talk of a snub is being blown out of proportion.”

Members of the majority Republican Florida Legislature had been asked to set their schedules for a February 4 event date requested by the FAMU administration only to later learn that the FAMU president preferred to spend time with a Democratic U.S. senator and a Democratic U.S. president instead of them on that day. 

Mangum apparently changed her mind and ended up rushing back to Tallahassee after the National Prayer Breakfast in time to participate in the evening reception for FAMU Day at the Capitol.

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